This is our Wedding Anniversary weekend. After the past 16 months, it’s a good milestone to celebrate. I think the pandemic either made relationships stronger, or exposed the cracks that were already there. We have made it out the other side.
Every year of marriage is supposed to be celebrated with a gift containing a certain substance. Five years is wood. Eleven years is steel. This is what Jeff excitedly gave me.
Yup. You’re reading it right. An auger. It’s like a gigantic screw. I am to use it to plant my lavender crops. Is it handy? Yes, it is. Is it romantic in any way? No, it is not. What is Jeff trying to tell me?
When I informed him that next year he is supposed to get me something platinum Jeff responded ‘Ah. So a more expensive auger.’ So much for surviving the pandemic without cracks.
I decided we should celebrate with a little excursion to a place we have not yet been. Muxia. On the Atlantic coast.
Muxia (pronounced Moo-shee-a) is a place many Pilgrims continue on to from Santiago. After they have already earned their first Compostela, they can do another special one by walking first to Muxia, and then on to Finisterre (The end of the earth) further south. Instead of walking, we decided to drive it.
On this cloudy, but warm Saturday, the place had a few pilgrims at the Santuario da Virxe da Barca. It’s the church at the point beyond the town looking out over the ocean. The church is full of small ships and symbols of maritime activities. It was originally a pre-Christian Celtic shrine. The area wasn’t that keen on being converted to Christianity. Which is interesting, considering the part it now plays in one of the three big Catholic pilgrimages, after Rome and Jerusalem.
We walked up the hill to the monument commemorating the shipwreck of the Prestige in 2002. It unloaded it’s cargo of oil into the sea and over the coastline. The crack in the rock symbolizes ‘the wound that will never heal’. This part of the Spanish coast is called Costa da Morte. Or the ‘coast of death’ for all the ships who have been wrecked upon it’s shores.
The chemical weathering of the granite rocks on the coast is pretty amazing. You can crawl out on them safely as the rocks are rough. I didn’t expect that after being battered constantly by the wind, rain and sea water.
There are rocks here called ‘Pedra da Barca’. They are balancing rocks. In the town’s history, these balancing rocks were used to determine the guilt of people accused of crimes. The large stones are said to be the remains of the boat that carried the Virgin Mary.
The landscape is stunning. You can see why Pilgrims often choose to walk beyond Santiago to the sea. Today, I saw a few shrug off their packs, and spend time alone contemplating down by the boiling surf. The stamp at the church says this is 0.0 km on the Camino. We would dispute that since Santiago is the goal (usually). But this place certainly feels significant. For many, their journey isn’t complete until they reach the sea.
We heard French, and I think Dutch. At least I’m pretty sure the woman who asked me to take her photo with the water in the background was a Dutch pilgrim. But no English being spoken. Most visitors arrived by car and were speaking Spanish or Gallego.
Heading back into town to have an anniversary lunch, the locals seem happy to have tourists back among them. They were friendly and welcoming. Order a beer or a glass of wine in Galicia and the small bites they pass around liberally are almost a meal. And they’re delicious! In Valencia, we usually got a bowl of potato chips. Maybe olives. Here, it’s small tapas and they never end. And the seafood is as fresh as possible in Muxia. Boats dock in the small harbor.
On the way home, we stopped off in Santiago to pick up some more small Lavender plants. I will be doing some propagation, but I need to get started getting plants in the ground. So this Anniversary auger will actually come in pretty handy. Don’t tell Jeff, but I’m as excited to try it out as he is. My lavender farm is just getting started, on top of everything else. With more exciting news to come. So on this Aniversario, after a little excursion, things are looking up.